HC Deb 20 June 1960 vol 625 cc10-1
17. Mr. Houghton

asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance approximately how many retirement pensioners are still receiving modified pensions under the provisions of paragraph (2) of Part I of the Fifth Schedule to Statutory Instruments, 1948, No. 612, and subsequent regulations; and whether he will take steps to bring their pensions into line with those in like circumstances who attained retirement age subsequent to 4th July, 1953.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

A separate figure is not available for this particular category, but the total number of people receiving retirement pensions at a lower rate because they entered insurance late in life from employment excepted from the contributory pensions scheme is between twelve and thirteen thousand. I have no proposals to make about these pensions.

Mr. Houghton

Does not the right hon. Gentleman agree that the time has come to call it a day on the restrictive basis for paying pensions to this class of insured persons? As the right hon. Gentleman knows, those who reached retirement age after 1953 enjoy the full rate of pension where their contributions entitle them to do that under the normal arrangements. This class of pensioner who reached retirement age before 1953 is at a disadvantage. The number of these pensioners is small and the cost of bringing their pensions into line with the others would also be small. Cannot the right hon. Gentleman exercise generosity and remove this long-standing anomaly?

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

As the hon. Member knows, this is part of the transitional arrangements between old and new schemes made under the 1946 Act. It applies only to those who came on to pension between 1948 and 1953. The hon. Member also knows, but did not say, that in the nature of things they have occupational pensions in addition to the National Insurance pension. I do not think that we can disturb the arrangements made by his right hon. Friend twelve years ago.